Meditation in a County Jail

[M]ostly I drew from my still deeply held conviction that to thrive in the stark and rigid environment of incarceration, one had to have practices to help bring the self to an essential freedom — within.

Seeing Through the Big Door

The garden was now located somewhere inside. A door had opened to something unexpected. Poems can seem like doors, at once both obscuring and revealing, assuring and confounding.

Building a Carolina Coop at the Mendocino County Jail

Unconditional Freedom recently collaborated with Carolina Coops, a North Carolina-based company that donated materials and came to teach the incarcerated men’s and women’s garden crews how to construct a chicken coop.

On Being a Letter Writing Volunteer

I think the problem with our society is that people choose to live in the illusory world of the mind when the mind cannot be trusted to bring you peace and love, unless those experiences are cultivated daily. It’s like a discipline.


Never think no one will help because they will. I’m glad it took years to put this puzzle together because what I see today is the puzzle I have come to love. It might have taken many years of waiting to see the results, and what I see today is beautiful.

From Violence to Creation

Jason Davis, head of the Harlem Bloods and now engaged with peace activity, talks about moving from violence to creation, how he brought his gang with him, and how he learned to use his influence in prison for good.

Doin’ Life in Prison

If I had a single life sentence
I’d still be struggling though
Instead of seeking the Lord.
I’d be aiming for ‘dem milestones
Seeing what I could do for me, myself, and I
to get an out date soon.
Instead He gave me five
sentences well past my lifetime.

More Free than Those in the Free World

Remember what we put in is what we get out. It’s up to us to do the work, and then to apply the work. Yes, we may be incarcerated, but we have the power to be more free than those in the free world.

A Window into the Jail Monastery

After picking up the garden crew from their housing unit, I remind them that Sheriff Kendall begins his beekeeping class for them today. They are energized by this sense of purpose, learning a new skill and bonding as a team in the care of these bees.